Chapter 16. What If You’re Already Separated & Heading for Divorce


Chapter 16 - What To Do if Youre Facing Separation

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[thrive_text_block color=”light” headline=”Chapter Summary”]If your wife is already checked out of the marriage, this chapter is meant to give you a clear action plan to get her back. Nothing is guaranteed, but these steps will help you maximize your chances of reviving your marriage.[/thrive_text_block]

Part 1:

Part 2:

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Did you know that women file for divorce twice as often as men?

If your wife has already checked out of the marriage, you’re not alone. At least ½ of the men reading this are separated, living in separate homes, and even on their way to divorce. For some of you, your wife has already started the paperwork.

That’s why I had to write this chapter. No matter how hard I looked, there is NOBODY else online talking about specific steps to do if you’re already separated.

Sure, there’s plenty of information out there about fixing marriage problems, and communication, and if you look really hard, there’s even some stuff out there about the importance of leadership …

But there’s NO concrete advice for men whose wives are already out the door. That’s what this chapter is all about.

How can you get your wife back when she wants nothing to do with you?

How can you get your wife back when she’s already out the door?

How can you get your wife back when she wants a divorce?

I’m not going to lie, these are all very hard questions to answer. Over the years, I’ve worked and talked with countless men in these situations. This chapter is a compilation of everything I’ve learned from my experiences.

As you continue reading this chapter, you’ll learn exactly what you should and should not do if your wife is already separated and wants divorce.

First, Recognize That You Can’t Force Her to Stay

The first and most important thing to realize if you’re facing separation is that there is no secret answer to this problem. I’ll tell you right up front… You can’t wave a wand and magically make your wife want back in the marriage.

If a magic answer existed, trust me, I’d tell you.

The hard truth is that at this point, almost anything you do to try and get her to stay is only going to push her further away. We’ll talk more about that in a second, but for right now recognize this:

You can’t force your wife to stay in the marriage.

I mean that literally in every sense of the word…

Because of a little thing called no-fault divorce, for most of you, your wife doesn’t need your permission to file for divorce.

Your gut instinct might be to try and delay the proceedings. You might try to dispute every little thing about the divorce, just to delay the inevitable. Some people will even tell you that this is what you should do.

Trying to outright delay the divorce never works. Because here’s the thing: if your wife really wants to, she can petition a judge and get a divorce… Even if you’re not in the court room!

Of course, it’s more work for her to do that, but the point here is that you really and truly cannot force your wife to stay in the marriage. You just can’t do it. It can’t be done.

If You Can’t Force Her to Stay, What’s the Answer?

Your wife has two choices right now…

  1. She can choose to leave the marriage and start a new life alone, or…
  2. She can choose to stay in the marriage and start a new life with you.

This is key: coming back to your old marriage is not an option. No matter what, the old, distant, loveless version of your marriage is dead. The version of your marriage that had no leader; the version of your marriage that slowly decayed over the years; that marriage is no more. Your wife won’t come back to that marriage.

As things stand right now, your wife has chosen to leave. In her mind, she’s already made her choice. And there’s no way you can force her to unmake that decision. We’ll talk more about this in the next chapter, but for now, remember this…

Your wife already sees herself as moved on from the marriage.

This is a really important point.

This means that if you really want your wife to stay with you, you have to make your marriage MORE appealing than the new life she’s envisioned for herself. You have to become such a good and attractive husband that your wife would be a fool not to stay with you.

You have to make YOURSELF be the better option.

How do you do that?

Let me start by asking a simple question:

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If you suddenly learned you have one week left to live, what would you do?

  1. Would you sit around, spending the whole time regretting the fact that your life has been unexpectedly cut short? Would you let yourself get depressed, spending all your time moping and looking for pity?
  2. Or would you say, “I’m going to make this last week of my life the best week I’ve ever had,” and focus on enjoying every moment of your life you had left?


Option 1 will leave you miserable. You’ll spend all your time throwing a pity party, and you’ll make the situation feel worse. You’ll also drag down the people around you.

Option 2 doesn’t change your circumstances, but it does change how you and the people around you feel.

Hopefully you would choose the second option. Obviously, it’s easier said than done, and it’s impossible to keep yourself totally optimistic in times like this… No matter which mindset you strive for, you’ll still be scared. You’ll still wish it were different. It’ll still be frustrating and depressing at times. But with option 2, you leave a positive lasting impact on the people around you and YOU get more out of it.

So, how does this tie back to your marriage?

This mindset is how you must approach your marriage right now:

Your marriage is dying… It’s on its last leg. It only has a few weeks or a few months left to live.

Knowing that, how are you going to spend your time?

Are you going to mope around and throw a pity party, or are you going to take charge of the time you have left and enjoy it to the fullest?

Look, I’m not trying to tell you that this situation you’re in right now isn’t really crappy. It is. It sucks. It’s unfair. And you’re allowed to be upset about it; you’re allowed to be angry and sad and frustrated and lonely.

But if you actually want your wife back… Or, more importantly, if YOU want to be happy… Then you’ve got to focus on what you can control RIGHT NOW. And there’s only one thing that’s totally under your control:


How to Control Yourself:
DOs and DON’Ts When Your Wife Wants Out

Remember the crucial point we made earlier…

If your wife has already dropped the D-bomb on you, if you’re in the middle of a ‘trial’ separation, then your wife already sees herself as being passed the marriage. No matter what she might say, she’s starting to think about a life without you.

Like we said in the last chapter, it doesn’t matter whose fault it is… You’re both to blame. You’ve both made mistakes and honestly, neither one of you really DESERVE a happy marriage at this point. But that doesn’t matter; these are the facts. Your wife has already seen an alternative to staying married (i.e. divorce, single lifestyle), and it’s an alternative she likes.

I can also guarantee that right now she has other people in her life encouraging her to get out of the marriage. Maybe she has a divorced friend or a sister to whom she’s complained about you, or maybe even another man. Again, none of this changes the facts… Knowing this doesn’t change the situation you’re in RIGHT NOW.

So, if it is a fact that your wife is already thinking about divorce … If she’s already starting to envision her life outside the marriage, here’s what you should and should not do:

Don’t Smother or Pressure Her

Putting on the PressureHopefully by now you know that begging your wife to stay in the marriage is only going to push her further away.

But, you might not know the reason WHY begging is so destructive…

  1. Begging makes you look weak and needy.
  2. Begging makes you look like an incapable leader.
  3. Begging is selfish; you beg when you don’t have control, but you desperately want control.
  4. Begging puts PRESSURE on her, which at this point will only push her away from the marriage.

That fourth point is the really important one here.

If you think about what the word “pressure” actually means, pressure is an increased force towards an outcome. When you blow up a balloon, you put pressure on the rubber. If you put enough pressure on it, it pops.

Right now, the only outcome your wife sees is divorce. That means any pressure you put on her will only push her further towards divorce and a single life without you.

So, you need to avoid putting pressure on her at all costs.

However, remember that pressure isn’t just asking your wife to come back to the marriage… You pressure your wife every time you communicates your expectation for her to love you or spend time with you or come back to the marriage.

This is really important – pressure is what happens when you have self-centered expectations for your wife. This hits on point #3 above… The reason begging is so high-pressure is because begging is rooted in selfishness. You beg when you don’t have control, but you want it. Begging is rooted in fear, not in love. We’ll talk more abuot this below (see: What’s the Difference Between Pressure & Affection?)

Likewise, anytime you have an ulterior motive in anything you do for your wife – anytime you have an expectation attached to any affection or gesture you do for her – THAT is what creates pressure. We’ll talk a bit more about this later in the chapter.

In the meantime, your goal right now is to let her come to you! Give her space. When you do initiate contact with her – whether that’s through text, phone call or in person – make sure you don’t put pressure on her; simply be there for her. Make her life better.

Here are some of the most common ways that desperate husbands accidentally put pressure on their wives. Make sure you don’t do any of these:

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  • DO NOT constantly say “I love you” every time you see her. In a healthy marriage, you can say “I love you” as much as you want. I tell my wife that I love her probably 10 or 15 times a day. But, constantly saying “I love you” when your wife is already on the way out just feels like you’re trying to get her to say it back to you. (Note: This doesn’t mean you should never say “I love you,” you just need to make sure you’re saying it for the right reasons… More on that below)[blank_space height=’3em’]
  • DO NOT always ask what she’s doing or where she’s going. However hard it is, right now you need to let your wife live her own life. Constantly inquiring her whereabouts just shows her that you (A) don’t trust her and (B) desperately don’t want her to leave.[blank_space height=’3em’]
  • DO NOT ask her how she’s doing or how she feels. She hears this as, “Have you decided to stay with me yet?”[blank_space height=’3em’]
  • DO NOT buy her gifts or flowers or take her on a really fancy date. Again, way too obvious. If you do take your wife on a date, make it about the time together and taking her mind off things; don’t try to impress her with a hefty dinner bill at the fanciest restaurant in town. Go to your favorite burger joint and grab a movie, something like that.[blank_space height=’3em’]
  • If you’re separated, try NOT to be the one to initiate contact. We’ll talk more about this below, but just know that it puts pressure on her and makes you feel worse when she ignores your texts or calls.


Again, this is a list of things NOT to do. If you catch yourself doing any of these things, or things similar to the items on the list above, try to change your behavior so that you stop putting pressure on her.

What’s the Difference Between Pressure & Affection?

After reading the first version of Manly Marriage Revival, a guy emailed me with some very good questions. Let’s call him Nathan.

Nathan’s wife is moving out in a week, and she’s been constantly trying to pick fights with him and get him all riled up. Classic forgiveness revolt. He has stood strong and continued to improve his own leadership throughout the past few weeks, but he had a very good question for me about telling the difference between pressure and affection.

Here’s his email:

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Jacob, One last question for you… Every day when I arrive at work, I text my wife just to tell her “have a good day.”

My question is, should I keep doing these types of things? Will this show my forgiveness or will it not? Does this put pressure on her?


And here’s what I told him. This is the part that applies to you:

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Hey Nathan, it’s totally fine to text your wife that nice message every day before work! Under one condition… You have to make sure you’re showing genuine affection, and not just trying to control her.

As a general rule of thumb, the best way to determine whether you should be doing something or not – whether that something is texting her, talking to her, or buying her flowers – is to ask yourself, “Am I doing this out of a desire to control her, or out of a desire to make her life better?”

Genuine affection comes with no expectations attached. Genuine affection is shown for the pure pleasure of knowing you’re making your beloved’s life better. False affection is shown with an expectation of change or reciprocation attached.

So, to answer your question, if you look at your motivations and figure out that you’re really only texting her that “have a good day” message, not because you actually want her to have a good day, but because you want her to recognize your worth as a husband, well, you may want to re-evaluate what you’re doing. But! If you look inside yourself and see that you’re texting her “have a good day” because you truly want her to have a good day and you want her to know that you’re out there wishing well for her because that knowledge makes her life better, then there’s nothing wrong with that!

The key takeaway here is that motivation is everything. She can tell when you’re doing something for selfish reasons versus selfless reasons.

Hope that helps.

Much manly love,
– Jacob


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There are two kinds of pressure that a wife can feel in these kinds of situations: external pressure and internal pressure.

External pressure is the kind of pressure that she feels when sources outside of herself are pushing her to come back to the marriage. Generally, external pressure is bad for all the reasons we outlined in this section.

Internal pressure is the kind of pressure that she feels within her own heart… The kind of pressure that comes when she starts to doubt her decisions about the marriage and she starts to notice or feel things that she hadn’t before. I believe that internal pressure, while it can have short-term negative consequences (see Forgiveness Revolt), is ultimately a good thing. And, I believe that when you do these sort of small acts of affection with a good heart and clean motives, that the kind of pressure your wife will experience is mostly internal.


So, when deciding whether or not to do something, remember that it must be genuine. Genuine affection still puts some pressure on her, but it’s a different kind of pressure… It’s the kind of pressure that makes her look inside herself and start to see you as a different person.

In looking over that list of stuff not to do above, you’ll see that the reasoning behind many of the things I recommend against doing is that it comes off as controlling and desperate. It’s important to remember that desperation, begging and fear are all rooted in a desire for control. The problem with doing the things on that list above isn’t the actual things you’re doing, but the mindset with which most men tend to do them during a separation, that is unless they make a conscious effort to let go of selfish expectations.

From now on, anytime you communicate with your wife during this separation, make sure you are NOT trying to control her, and that you ARE trying to selflessly make her life better. Make sense?

Do Give Her Space to Make Her Own Decisions

If putting pressure on your wife means that you’re trying to control her decisions, what’s the opposite of that?

The opposite of pressure is to give her complete freedom to make her own decisions.

At this point, your wife is going to make her own decisions anyways. There’s nothing you can say or do to change her mind – the only way to get her back is by making your marriage the better option. You have to be the better choice.

So, don’t even try to challenge her decisions. Don’t try to control her or manipulate her or change her mind. You can’t. All you can do is try and make the choice of staying with you more favorable.

Right now, you have two options:

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  1. You can try and control her decisions and end up pushing her away, or…
  2. You can let her make her own decisions and make yourself seem more attractive and confident in doing so.


I recommend option 2.

Your wife wants space. She needs to get away from you to clear her head. Even if she’s still living at home with you, she needs that feeling of awayness. She needs to feel like an individual again. If you don’t give her that space, you’re only making things worse.

Once she’s an individual again, once she has clarity again, THEN she can start to see you as the best option on the table.

This is what I mean when I say you have to “Let her go to get her back”. You have to genuinely let her go so that she can pursue her own happiness, and you have to come to terms with the fact that she will make her own decisions based on what she believes will get her the most happiness.

Your best chance, then, is to make yourself into the man that she wants to be with completely of her own accord. As you grow into a good husbandly leader, as long as you and your wife remains separated, your mindset needs to be, “I will be the best husbandly leader I can be, and because of that I am better for her than any other option. I trust that she will see that, even if it takes weeks, months or years.”

Don’t Argue or Mope

This one will be extremely difficult. Even if you don’t feel particularly combative right now, you will get impatient. You will go through phases of extreme resentment. You will be depressed, which will make you irritable.

You must hold strong. Resist arguing and never let your wife see you moping.


For one, arguing with your wife will put pressure on her. Like we said above, you want to avoid putting pressure on her at all costs.

Secondly, arguing presents an image of yourself that you don’t want your wife to see right now. Same thing with moping. If your wife sees you constantly moping around, throwing yourself a pity party, being visibly depressed; that kind of attitude will drive her away.

You may be thinking, “But doesn’t my wife want to know that the thought of her leaving makes me sad? Doesn’t she want to know that she matters to me?”

Yes, she does. Probably in part because she wants to feel like she’s doing better than you. But if you actually want her to stay, you need to show her that her leaving has affected you in a different way…

Do Be Quiet, Calm & Confident

serenityBasically, pretend to be the opposite of how you feel right now.

Again, I know that this is extremely difficult. I’m really and truly sorry that you’re in this position. But you’ve got to fake it.

Do you see that version of yourself in your head?Imagine a version of yourself that is unshakably at peace. Imagine yourself always wearing a slight smile, always thinking before you speak and saying the exact right thing; you’re calm and collected, always with a cool head.

[pullquote align=”right”]Serenity is not freedom from the storm, but peace within the storm. [/pullquote]

Pretend to be him. Make yourself project that image when you’re around your wife.

  • Don’t engage in fights.
  • Don’t raise your voice.
  • Don’t let yourself get frantic or exasperated or angry.
  • Stay in control at all times.
  • Always think before you speak.
  • Be kind, encouraging and positive.

Basically, whatever you used to do before, you should probably do the opposite.

The only man your wife sees out of you should be the man she wants to be with.

This will freak her out at first. She may get angry to test your temper. She may get teary-eyed and ask you why the separation isn’t affecting you the same way it’s affecting her. She may even flaunt the fact that she’s living a single life.

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Quick Warning: Stay away from alcohol during this time. It’ll lower your inhibitions and increase the chances that you’ll lose your cool and say something that you wouldn’t say if you were sober. It’s not worth the risk; you can’t afford to make mistakes.


  • Don’t lose your cool.
  • Stay calm and collected and confident.
  • Speak quietly, and make every word count.

I’m not saying you have to lie. You don’t have to tell your wife that you don’t care about her. You don’t have to tell her that the separation/divorce doesn’t bother you. You can even TELL her that you’re sad and that you miss her. … But you can’t show it in the way that you normally would.

Don’t Snoop or Spy

Don't Snoop or SpyThis one is really hard, especially if you suspect that your wife is seeing another man, or if you suspect that she’s having an affair. No matter what, you cannot snoop or spy on her.

  • Do not stalk her on Facebook
  • If you know her passwords, don’t log into her email or Facebook to see who she’s talking to
  • Don’t look at her phone or text messages
  • Don’t track her credit card or bank accounts
  • Don’t “surprise her” at work
  • Certainly don’t follow her to see where she’s going or who she’s spending her time with

This is just as much for your own good as it is for hers.

Honestly, I’ve said it before, but the best advice I can give you is to completely deactivate your Facebook account. It’s only a distraction and a temptation, and not something that you need in your life right now. Most men who do this realize how much better their life is without Facebook to the point that they never reactivate their account.

Even if you don’t completely cut yourself off from Facebook, all of the other rules apply. Don’t stalk her. Don’t snoop. Don’t spy. Don’t inquire.

Let her go and live the life she wants to live.

Do Accept that She’s Trying to Be Happy

Again, this is much easier said than done. Especially if you know that your wife is having an emotional or physical affair.

Here we come back to the importance of understanding what’s going through your wife’s mind… Right now, she has one goal and one goal only:

She wants to be HAPPY.

That is truly her only goal.

The reason she’s seeking divorce, separation or even an extramarital relationship is because she no longer believes that she can be happy inside the marriage.

If your wife is seeing another man, this will be one of the hardest parts of the whole course for you to apply. Recognize that it’s extremely common during separation for a spouse to fall into a “rebound” relationship. Most of the time it’s only emotional… She may go on a couple dates and call him every now and then. Sometimes it will go further, but most of the time it won’t.

Again, I know that this is an extremely hard pill to swallow, but you’ve got to understand your wife’s point of view. She does not think of herself as being in the marriage any longer. Because of that, in her mind you two are not bound by the vows of your marriage. You’re on a break. Things aren’t working out. She’s on her way out the door.

To her, there is no unfaithfulness; there’s just moving on.

Let me say this one more time because it’s extremely important…

Right now, your wife’s ONLY goal is to be happy. Accept that she is going to do whatever she has to do – whatever she FEELS she has to do – to be happy. And as we’ve been saying all along, this leaves us with a simple goal:

We need to make her FEEL that staying with you and rekindling the marriage will make her happier than leaving the relationship to start a life on her own. That’s your only goal.

Don’t Talk to Her Friends or Family Members

Talking to your wife’s family and friends is just another way of trying to spy on and manipulate your wife.

Most of the time, when women leave their husbands in situations like this, there are always members of their family or mutual friends who are sympathetic with you, the husband. So, if you really wanted to, you could probably get them to say something to your wife.

A lot of guys will try and talk to their wife’s parents or her siblings to see if they will say something to her. Maybe you’ll try and contact one of her friends to see if she can “talk some sense into her”.

Do. NOT. Do this.

For one, your wife will immediately know what’s up. She’s not stupid. And even if she is, there’s a 50-50 chance that close friend or family member will just go back to your wife and tell them exactly what you asked them to do.

Even with the best-case scenario… Even if your wife doesn’t suspect that you talked to her family/friends/coworkers and they don’t rat you out…

They’re never going to change her mind.

They will just pressure her further away, just as much as if you’d been the one talking to her. If anything, you want her friends and family members to leave her alone!

Just like we said before, you can’t control your wife, and nobody else can control your wife either. Only your wife can make decisions for herself.

Do Move On With Your Life

You need to move on with your life. You need to show your wife that you are not dependent on her to live, and that you’re going to be happy with or without her.

This seems kind of backwards, because you may think, “Doesn’t my wife want to know that I love her?”

Yes, she does. But she also needs less pressure.

When you show her that you can live without her, you’re actually decreasing pressure on her.

Not only that, but you need to get your own life together for your own sake.

Listen, I’m not here to guarantee that you can get your wife back. Like I’ve said since the beginning of this course, there’s nothing that you or I or anyone else can do to change your wife’s mind. There simply is NOT any way to guarantee that your wife will stay with you, because if she really, really wants to, she can get a divorce all by herself.

So, you need to get a life outside your wife. Here are some ideas to get you thinking:

  • Do something that’s entirely unlike yourself, something you’ve never done before.
  • Sign up for a class at a local college or community center.
  • Start going to the gym, or pick up a new sport.
  • Get more active at church. Start volunteering.
  • Go hiking or fishing with your friends.
  • Start a new friendship with a coworker.
  • Pick up an old hobby.
  • Find a creative outlet.

Basically, try to stay busy and do whatever you can to focus on yourself. Being social and getting out will help you reflect on yourself as a leader, as a husband and a man.

Doing these types of activities are also good because they get you out of the house. They will remind you that you are an individual.

Another added benefit we hinted at earlier is that getting out and being active will show your wife that you’re going to live a happy life with or without her. When you show your wife that you can be happy on your own, it will make her wonder what she’s missing.

Don’t do anything you do right now for your wife. Do it all for you. After all, that’s exactly what your wife is doing right now, and it’s what you should be doing too. And even though it seems backwards, this is actually the best way to increase your chances of getting your wife back.

Do Make Your Wife Do All the D-Work (not for everyone)

[thrive_text_block color=”note” headline=””] Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer, this is not legal advice, you should always consult with a lawyer before applying any legal-related marriage advice you learn here.[/thrive_text_block]

My last tip for you is this: While you should never deliberately delay divorce proceedings, that doesn’t mean you have to make it easy for your wife to file for a divorce.

Show up to all the mediation appointments… Do all the things that directly have to do with you to make the divorce happen… But don’t do your wife any favors to make it easier for her to get a divorce.

[pullquote align=”right”]Why this isn’t for everyone:

Every marriage and every divorce is different. Sometimes, you’ll actually get a better chance of changing your wife’s mind by participating in the divorce preparation.

Sometimes, if you show her that you’ve truly let go of the marriage by opening up to divorce, that can get her to let her guard down. Or, if you show her that you’re not too stubborn to talk about divorce, that can be what shows her you’re capable of change. It’s up to you to identify what you think is the best way to optimize your chances of saving the marriage.

See Statement #7 and Statement #5 in Chapter 17 for more information.


For example, let’s say your wife is separated and she needs her birth certificate or last year’s tax returns, but unfortunately she left them at the house. Don’t offer to bring them over to her new apartment; make her find time to come and get what she needs.

Or, if she needs to visit the bank and get something out of your joint safe deposit box, don’t make the appointment for her. Don’t find the deposit box keys for her. Tell her you’re busy, and that you’re happy to leave the door open if she’d like to come over sometime and look for them.

See what I mean? It’s not that you should be going out of your way to delay the proceedings; you just shouldn’t be going out of your way to make them any easier.

There’s a crucial difference here… Deliberately delaying the divorce is an act of desperation; refusing to make it easier for her is an act of confident protest.

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– The No Contact Rule –

emergency only

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Warning: The No Contact Rule should only be used if your wife has fully moved out of the house. It’s not meant to be used if you’re still living together or if you’re not separated from your wife, and honestly you shouldn’t need it in either of those cases. The No Contact Rule is meant to be used as a last resort when nothing else is getting your wife back.

See Appendix A for help using the No Contact Rule when you have kids.


If everything you’ve tried to get your wife back has only pushed her further away, then it’s time to cut off all contact. This is your final course of action; your last ditch effort. And again, just like every other tip in this chapter, it’s for your own benefit just as much as it is for hers.

Here’s how to do it:

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  1. For the next week, make absolutely no contact with your wife. No phone calls. No text messages. No emails. No letters. Nothing.
    1. If she texts, calls, or emails you in this week, don’t text her or call her back… Stall out contact instead. Here’s how:If she tries to contact you, the only thing you can tell her is that you’re busy and that you’ll get back to her “sometime in the next a couple days”. But you won’t… You’re just stalling.If you DO have to stall, you should still wait at least six hours to respond to any contact from your wife, even if it’s to tell her you can’t talk right now.
  2. When the week is up, you’re allowed to re-engage contact with your wife. You may make one phone call, or meet her one time. However, do NOT re-engage contact through email or Facebook unless you absolutely have no other option.There are some special rules for this first contact:
    1. Do NOT talk about yourself
    2. Do NOT try to talk about the marriage
    3. Do NOT talk about sad or emotional topics
    4. Let her direct the flow of the conversation
    5. Keep it casual
    6. Spend most of the conversation listening to her; at least 70%
    7. Stay calm and collected; do NOT lose your temper or raise your voice for any reason
    8. You can flirt if it feels natural, but don’t force it
  3. One of two things will happen after you re-engage contact:
    1. You will feel good about the contact. You’ll have a good conversation, one where you didn’t talk about yourself and only listened. You will be able to tell that your wife misses you. Ideally, she will ask to see you again sometime. If so, proceed to step 4.
    2. The contact will go poorly. Either you will say/do something that you shouldn’t have, or she will be distant, upset or angry. If this is what happens, start over at step 1.
    3. You should also start over at step 1 if you can’t get your wife to commit to a phone call or in-person visit… In other words, if you can’t get contact with your wife, go another week without trying to contact her.
  4. If your first contact went well, you’re allowed to contact her again. However, you should still keep yourself from ever being the one to initiate contact. Make her always come to you.
    1. Continue to do your best to follow the rules in step three in all of your conversations… Keep it casual, do lots of listening, stay calm at all costs.
  5. If she continues to want contact with you, then eventually she will want to talk about the marriage. When you’ve had at least TWO WEEKS of consistent good contact with your wife, then and only then are you allowed to talk about the marriage. Even then, the longer you can avoid this conversation, the better.If she tries to bring up the marriage before you’ve hit the two-week mark, tell her you don’t want to talk about it. Tell her you just want to have fun again – I can guarantee that she’ll understand that.


Now, there’s a chance that contact with your wife will never improve. Again, like we’ve been saying since sentence #1 of this course, there’s no way to guarantee that your wife will come back to the marriage. But, like I said earlier, the No Contact Rule is just as much for you as it is for her. By forcing yourself to spend a couple weeks at a time without contacting your wife, you will force yourself to start a new life.

When you’ve got no other options left, the No Contact Rule is your best chance of getting your wife back.

Sometimes You Have to Do the Opposite of What You Think

Do the Opposite of What You Think… At least, at first.

Eventually you need to trust your gut. But initially, in the first stages of coping with separation, your desperate self – the side of you that feels out of control – will be constantly trying to drag you down.

In the beginning of any separation, the best advice I can give you is to do the opposite of what you think you should do.

Most of the things I tell you to do in this chapter will feel completely backwards… At first, your gut instinct will be to do all the DON’Ts and disobey all the DOs.

During the No Contact Rule, you will be tempted to try and have a conversation with your wife after just a few days instead of a full week. When you do contact her, you’ll be tempted to talk about the marriage, or to tell her what you’ve been doing so that you can show her you’re moving on.

Don’t do any of that.

Whatever your desperate self tells you to do, whatever your fear tells you, 99% of the time you should do the opposite.

Listen – over the years I’ve worked with a LOT of men in your situation. I’ve gotten hundreds of emails and read countless accounts from men, all of whom faced either separation or divorce.

Inevitably, the mistakes that the typical man Inside the Haven makes tend to be the same mistakes everyone else has made. He lets his wife get to him… He loses his temper; he clings; he pressures; he gives up.

Don’t be that guy.

If your wife wants divorce, your best chance of getting her back is to make REALLY BIG changes to your behavior. Whatever feels unnatural, whatever feels wrong, chances are that’s what you should be doing.

Separation is really hard. Really, really hard. Probably the hardest thing you’ll ever have to do. And the kicker is that the only way you can hope to fix it is by actually making it HARDER for yourself. This won’t be easy, but if you follow the rules outlined in this chapter, at the very least you’ll guarantee a happy future for yourself.

[thrive_text_block color=”note” headline=”Key Takeaways from Chapter 16:”]

  • There’s no magic answer. Anyone who guarantees you can fix your marriage is a liar. There’s no way to MAKE your wife stay happy and married.
    • Instead, your goal is to make yourself and the marriage so much better of a choice compared to divorce that she’d be a fool to leave.
  • DON’T smother her or pressure her in any way. DO give her space to think and feel like herself again.
  • DON’T mope around or argue with your wife. DO be quiet, calm and confident.
  • DON’T snoop or try to spy on what your wife is doing. DO accept that you already know what she’s doing… She’s trying to be happy.
  • DON’T try to get family members or friends to talk to her on your behalf. DO genuinely move on with your life.
  • DON’T deliberately delay the divorce. DO make your wife do all the divorce work (ie. do your part of the divorce work; don’t do hers).

Use the No Contact Rule ONLY when you’ve tried everything else.

[thrive_link color=’blue’ link=’’ target=’_self’ size=’big’ align=’aligncenter’]Go to Chapter 17. Seven Things to Say to Your Wife to Get Her Back[/thrive_link]


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